Dossier | Narrative research in ordinary teaching practice: multiple perspectives

Teaching at the Federal Institute of Amazonas – learning from experience

Docência no Instituto Federal do Amazonas – aprendendo com as experiências

Enseñanza en el Instituto Federal de Amazonas – aprendiendo de experiencias

Claudio Afonso Peres, Filomena Maria de Arruda Monteiro, José González-Monteagudo


The creation of the Federal Institutes (IFs) brought new configurations to teaching.

The teaching performance at the Federal Institute (IF) in the Interior of Amazonas presents a double complexity.

The experience is formative and transformative, because it is historical and continuous.


The article deals with the reflection on the experience of being a teacher at the Federal Institute of Amazonas (IFAM) – Coari Campus. Following the principles of narrative research, in dialogue with (auto)biographical research, this paper seeks to identify the main experiences lived in situ that have broadened the conception of the complexity of teaching and that allowed to highlight the different nuances of the Professional Teaching Development (DPD). Significant learning paths are proposed that can facilitate the identification processes in the field of differences and the teaching context at the Federal Institute, broadening the formative perspective of narrative research, based on the reflected experience.

Resumo | Resumen


Teacher Professional Development. Federal Institute of Amazonas. Complex Context.

Received: 03.31.2023

Accepted: 06.29.2023

Published: 07.18.2023



Different studies have confirmed the complexity of the teaching job in several of its dimensions (Gatti, 2017; Lima et al., 2020; Bastos & Boscarioli, 2021), understandings that are based on research and experiences lived by these authors and actors. We verify this in the identification of teaching with other professions, in the recognition that the teacher needs to consider contexts and develop various competences, in addition to knowing how to teach.

The extension and expansion of the Federal Network of Higher, Technical and Technological Education (RF), together with the various activities and courses offered by the network, made it possible to understand the expansion of the complexity of teaching work (Fernandes et al., 2011). Law No. 11.892/2008 establishes the purposes, objectives and configuration of the Federal Institutes (IFs), which need adaptation and re-signification in different places, but without losing the purposes for which they were created. In general, the Institutes are:

Multi-curricular and multi-campus institutions (rectorate, campus, advanced campus, innovation poles and distance education poles), specialised in offering professional and technological education (EPT) at all levels and forms of articulation with the other levels and modalities of National Education, offering different types of EPT courses, in addition to degrees, undergraduate and postgraduate stricto sensu. (Brazil, 2008).

There are several aspects that differentiate the IFs from the existing teaching institutions in the country: different levels and modalities of teaching; search for verticalisation of the offer at all levels; diversified teacher training; integrated teaching; university focus concomitant with the human training required in secondary education; research and extension production with the participation of secondary education students; various scholarship programmes for secondary education students and teachers; applied research; and insertion in different contexts of the country (Brazil, 2008). These are some of the aspects that differentiate the IFs and increase the complexity of Teacher Professional Development (DPD).

With regard to DPD, we understand it as a broad and continuous process that permeates the entire educational and training life of teachers, beyond initial and ongoing training, which moves retrospectively and prospectively in situated times, places and relationships. In this area, we highlight the studies of Christopher Day (2001), Marcelo García (2009) and Fernández-Cruz (2015).

Associated with the complexity in the DPD in the IFs, the rapid expansion brought the necessary expansion towards the interior areas of the country, by which the more than 661 units arrived, in the year 2019, to places of difficult access and with precarious economies, such as the city of Coari, in the interior of Amazonas, our phenomenon of study. The place studied, the teachers' accounts, some research data, and the experience of the first author on the campus studied allow us to reflect on the research question-problem, referring to how to be a teacher and researcher in this double complexity: that of teaching performance in the context of a new institution and the experience in a different place, unusual for the vast majority of professionals, who are generally outsiders from different regions of the country. At the time of the research, in 2019, only 22% were locals.

To better understand the context, the municipality of Coari is located 433 km from the capital, Manaus, and is accessible daily by river, via the Solimões River canal, or by precarious weekly flights. It has an estimated population of 85,910 inhabitants, with a population density of 1.31 inhabitants/km², according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE, 2020). Coari's local economy revolves around the primary sector of the economy. Products are consumed in the municipality and the surplus (without the entire population benefiting) is usually sold in natura to local traders, known in the recent past as "banana barons", who make sales in Manaus, earning demeaning profits. Some local agricultural products are immersed in the dynamics of international trade, being sold in several countries, even using the Amazonian origin as a marketing strategy. Even so, this trade does not bring economic benefits to the population.

Apart from the civil service, in particular the municipal government, and a modest trade that caters only to the local sector, the municipality does not offer job vacancies to serve the population. The percentage of people with formal occupation in the municipality in 2017 was only 6.7%. In terms of monthly income, 48.9% of households had an income of up to half a minimum wage. The municipality had 62% of households with inadequate sanitary sewerage system and 78.7% of households with inadequate urbanization (IBGE, 2020). With a relatively high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of R$15,580.35 (620th position among the 5,570 municipalities in the country), the municipality has a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.586 (4,495th position among the 5,570 municipalities in the country) (IBGE, 2020). In other words, the existing wealth does not guarantee a more equitable distribution of income. These data reveal a paradox that can be explained by a history of corruption and mismanagement of public resources.

The local economy is quite dependent and 83.4% of income comes from external sources (IBGE, 2020). This GDP is driven by royalties received by the municipality since 1989 from the extraction of natural gas in the Urucu Oil Province by Petrobras. The construction of the Coari-Manaus gas pipeline moved the local economy, causing the uncontrolled influx of people from rural areas and other municipalities, which increased the urban population of the municipality from 35% in 1989 (Almeida & Souza, 2008) to 65% in 2020 (IBGE, 2020). With the end of the construction of the gas pipeline, the city of Coari did not manage to maintain its level of employability, which largely explains its current precarious situation.

The municipality of Coari has its singularities. However, we recognise that every singularity entails something universal and plural. After all, the universal is the local without walls (Torga, 1986). It is necessary to recognise the interconnections that are amplified in the times of technological development we live in. Indeed, the reality of the local implies differences in the conception of time, capitalism, politics and education, which result in tension-generating mechanisms in the experience of teachers in the locality. The processes of identification are complex. Recognising difference as constitutive and prior to our identities, as Silva (2014) points out, has been a challenge for teachers. In this sense, pursuing the principles of narrative research, in dialogue with (auto)biographical research, we carried out the analysis and interpretation of the participants' narratives, in dialogue with the theoretical framework and the complex local context, providing new understandings about the complexity of teaching, which allowed us to evidence different nuances of the DPD. And we, as authors of this work, hope to have broadened the perspectives of narrative research in the processes of training teachers committed to the cause of teaching at the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Amazonas (IFAM) – Coari Campus.

Methodological pathways

Following the principles of narrative research (Clandinin & Connelly, 2015; Blix et al., 2021), in dialogue with (auto)biographical research, to understand the field of teacher education (Fernández-Cruz, 2015; González-Monteagudo, 2018), the research developed diverse methodologies, producing varied field texts, limiting ourselves here to the interpretative analysis of some accounts, placed in dialogue with the complex context and with the aforementioned theoretical contribution.

For Clandinin and Connelly (2015, p. 172), there are three considerations that mark the narrative method: "theoretical considerations; practical considerations oriented to the field text; and analytical-interpretative considerations". In this paper we seek to balance this relationship, so that theory can support the understanding of field texts.

We start from the interpretative analysis of the accounts of the Rounds of Conversation (RC) and Individual Interviews conducted with 10 teachers, among the 43 teachers of IFAM Campus Coari at the time of the research (Peres, 2022), considering the diversity of origin, age, gender, seniority, qualifications, training and areas of knowledge, as shown in Chart 1, in addition to the historical differences constitutive of each individual1.

Chart 1

Characterisation of teachers


Length of Service

Previous teaching






Initial Training


11 years

12 years





Portuguese language



4 years

8 years








3 years

10 years








3 years

0 years







Marcos Cione

0 years

0 years






Veterinary medicine



1 year

1 year








1 year

1 year



Minas Gerais


Agricultural Sciences or Agronomy



2 years

0 years





Fisheries resources



2 years

5 years







Renan Belém

4 years

0 years





Portuguese language


Source: the authors.

By living together daily for approximately three months in the research field between July and September 2019, in addition to other sporadic visits and contacts, it was possible to conduct observation in various settings and produce meaningful field texts, which guided the composition of meanings and the elaboration of the research text. They are outcomes of ongoing narratives on campus at the time of the research, being shaped by the relationship (Clandinin & Connelly, 2015). The narratives constitute the experiences. Reflected experience, and all that it signifies, underpins narrative enquiry and constitutes the methodological foundation that, associated with the biographical approach, supports this research.

We search among the accounts of experiences for what makes sense to tell, in order to rethink DPD in its double complexity, identifying possible reflections for new experiences, which resonate in narrativity. For Dewey (1979), mere activity does not constitute experience. If it is dispersed and does not serve to construct new experiences, it will have been a worthless experience. It will have value when it is "a continuous activity because of the consequences that flow from it within us, when the change effected by the action is reflected in a change effected in us, this flow is charged with meaning" (Dewey, 1979, p. 153).

The dual complexity of teachers' reports

After the initial reflections on the place, the Institution and its peculiarities, in pursuit of the proposed objective, it was necessary to listen to the participants' accounts in order to identify the resonances and dissonances of the context and the meanings attributed by them to the new IF, in the place where they live the experience, trying to understand how they identify themselves and how they move between the differences of the place and the Institution.

In the research conversations it was possible to perceive how each person means and resignifies the "place" – which can be the municipality or the campus, perceived as complex, considering that the place is that where identification exists or is sought (Bauman, 2001; Augé, 2020). However, the campus experience allows us to perceive that many teachers react to complexity with non-identification, occupying a "non-place", in the sense of these authors. By occupying a "non-place", many teachers do not get involved, do not commit themselves, do not make judgements about teaching. This is not the case for our participants. In fact, demographic imperatives, as addressed by Fernández-Cruz (2015, p. 31), dominate most of the time actions and conversations.

To organise this discussion, we divide the analysis of the stories into three narrative units: first, the understanding of the political, social and economic realities of place; next, the implications of this reality for teaching; and finally, the processes of identification and the dilemma of remaining on campus and in place.

The political, social and economic realities on the ground

Marcos Cione, a graduate in zootechnics, with a great deal of social concern and who arrived on campus without any pedagogical training, begins a round of conversation with the most intriguing paradox for teachers who are interested in the local economy. "It is the second richest city in Amazonas, it is the city rich in oil and gas [...]. It is a city that is a pole and should offer some benefits to the people who live here" (Marcos Cione, 36 years old, Teacher of Zootechnics, RC). He reveals his perplexity at the economic situation of the municipality and the social reality of the people, which is reflected in IFAM (Peres, 2022). Associated with the municipality's poverty is a public management marked by a history of corruption and precarious administration of resources. Furthermore, being located in the middle of the Solimões River, a drug trafficking route from Colombia (Araújo, 2019), the crime rate also affects the formal education system.

This brings us back to the quality of local politics. We often discuss this reality informally on campus, but feel powerless to delve into it. As a teacher at IFAM, participating in local politics can bring with it several consequences, such as the dangerous involvement with "petty local politics", studied by Gouveia and Silva (2017), and the risk of conflicts with students, students' parents and the institution's management. These conflicts, the judgement that some teachers make about politics and how this is reflected on campus, appear in the accounts. The story of Antônio, a mathematics teacher, is quite emblematic:

We have here something brought from the city itself, we have a city where it is divided between those who like the mayor and his family, and those who don't like him. And I see that the people who are here in Coari bring this issue to the institution. (Antônio, 44, Mathematics teacher, EI)

Thus, seeking to distance themselves from local politics, but contingent on the economic, the teachers put the focus on the education of the learner, perceiving the implication of the social and the economic for the teaching and learning processes. The teachers take ownership of their experiences and try to make them provocative for social transformation through teaching.

In the face of latent social and economic inequality, Marcos Cione sees that IFAM is, in a way, at the service of the most privileged population. "It is an institution that is still elitised [...], I see that people who are on the periphery cannot access IFAM" (Marcos Cione, 36 years old, teacher of zootechnics, RC). Urban transport is precarious and the absence of roads subject people to precarious river navigation, which makes the institution exclusive. Jean, who is a fishery engineer and is heavily involved in extension activities, comments on these rural communities. He reports that there are "280 communities, 30% of the population of the municipality already excluded from IFAM" (Jean, 30 years old, Fisheries Resources teacher, CR).

Several research reports reinforce these aspects of economics and politics, which are strongly reflected in society, forming a clientelist culture, in which each group or family seeks to defend its space, as a criterion for survival, with influences on the school.

These experiences are reflected in DPD processes and teaching practices in a convincing way. Experience is formative because it is historical and continuous. It is considered that "experiences are stories that people live. People live stories and in the telling of these stories they are reaffirmed. They modify themselves and create new stories" (Clandinin and Connelly, 2015, p. 27). By creating new stories, they reinvent teaching.

The political, social and economic realities on the ground

Liliane, who is an accounting teacher, but has a social background in the pastoral care of the Catholic Church and in popular struggle movements, tries to get to know the neighbourhoods where the students live and their realities, the lack of resources and the precariousness of their housing. As it is a technical and technological education institution, the scarcity of resources causes losses for the students. He says that his laptop is "communal", as many students do not even have mobile phones.

Kleverton, who is a computer teacher and has technical skills, says he repairs and upgrades students' laptops and mobile phones, so they can carry out their activities. He also challenges students to learn in adversity: "you are going to do in the notebook [...] how your program, that algorithm is going to behave, when you come here to IFAM, you come and test" (Kleverton, 37 years old, Computer Science Teacher, RC). In this way, it leads the learner to reflect on his or her practice. Even with the initiative and effort of several teachers, such as Kleverton and Liliane, this lack of some means leads to a certain exclusion and distances integration which, in a critical perspective (Walsh, 2010), focuses on social inclusion.

Edson, also a computer teacher, but a volleyball coach, who followed the routine and life of the students of the campus team, is reflective in setting the level of demand of the students for the activities: "I was reflecting [...], how am I going to demand from my student? The guy doesn't even have a place to sleep, in a basement totally at the mercy of various kinds of diseases" (Edson, 40 years old, Computer Science teacher, RC). In fact, many students live in unsanitary conditions, in stilt houses on the banks of rivers and streams, on houseboats, in neighbourhoods with no utilities or sanitation, and usually in large families. "Of course, we have to do it, demand from them, do our part, but as Liliane said, each case is a specific case" (Edson, 40 years old, computer teacher, CR). Many teachers in the research showed frustration at not being able to promote change in the school, frustrating expectations with the DPD and moving away from the learner-centred dimension, adopting technical and neutral approaches. Teachers want the required answers, but for that they need to build a multiple DPD, with "knowledge about organisational development, knowledge about curriculum development and innovation, knowledge about teaching, and knowledge about teachers and their training" (Marcelo García, 1999, p. 140). Few seek or achieve these broad levels of knowledge.

The level of demand, grading, and assessment seems to be something that worries teachers a lot, in the same sense that Silva (2015, p. 185) concludes in his research: "the understanding that to assess is to classify is still valid". In fact, in the Institute, this understanding is recurrent and I remember that I -the first author- was embarrassed at the beginning of my career when I talked about assessment with some colleagues, who did not admit subjectivity in assessments, ignoring the differences between students.

In trying to minimise exclusion, much is said in the results about how to assess the student, taking into account his or her social status and limits to achieve results. Marcos Cione has difficulties with this.

If it lowers the level, it lowers the status of the people who have access. And if you raise the level too high, you kick people out. I have to tell you that I haven't found the balance yet (Marcos Cione, 36, livestock teacher, RC).

This assessment dilemma is debated on campus in pedagogical meetings, but the technical bias tends to dominate the teaching guidelines.

The creative school, in the sense of Gramsci (1982), demands research procedures and knowledge about the practice and autonomous learning of the student, requiring changes in the contents and methods of teaching, for which it is necessary to have training in this sense, so that the student can be guided on this path, far beyond the objective and classificatory evaluation. Although the Institute is based on the foundations of the unitary school, of omnilateral and integral education (Castro & Duarte Neto, 2021), we are far from substantive training in this perspective. And inequality "knocks at the door".

Bruna, who is a teacher and coordinator of the agriculture and livestock course, is concerned about the inequality among the students: "in agriculture and livestock, the class division there is very clear. A small part has money [...], the majority don't" (Bruna, 33 years old, Agronomy teacher, RC). It is a recurrent concern and a paradox, as we have already shown, which is reflected in IFAM. There is a huge mass of people with low or no income and a small group of rich people, verified by the high GDP and the precarious HDI. The children of these rich people are invariably in the IFAM. For this reason, the discussion on the form of access is recurrent. Currently, access is based on the ranking of the best grades in science, mathematics and Portuguese language in the last years of primary school, although in the past it was by competition. In any case, both forms end up producing exclusion.

Araújo and Frigotto (2015) discuss the limits imposed by economic issues in educational policies and allow us to reflect on the desirable integrated education, inspired by Gramsci's unitary school, whereby the subaltern classes are included and emancipated in the process. This makes it possible to think about the perspective of integrated education associated with critical interculturality, an integrative inclusion, a path little travelled on campus, given the absence of initial and continuous teacher training from this perspective.

Liliane, who carries some of the intercultural prejudices into her training, recalls that she used to avoid telling her story of suffering and her relationship with education during her training. However, she now uses her story to encourage her students. In view of this story, it is possible to imagine that certainly many students also omit their hardships, show unsatisfactory results and give up. Therefore, they need to trust the teacher, a trust that takes root in the relationship, in the affection and in the social and pedagogical commitment. Students come to the campus for vocational training, coming from a rather precarious primary education, but, in general, we are not prepared for this reception, as some participants show.

Despite having prepared for adversity, Liliane faces many challenges. "I came very prepared, so, psychologically, for a very difficult reality" (Liliane, 35, accounting teacher, CR). The teaching profession involves tensions and dilemmas, as Day (2005, p. 52) suggests:

Having the ability to motivate oneself and persist despite frustrations; controlling impulses and differentiating from gratification; regulating one's moods; and preventing discomfort from affecting one's ability to think, empathise and hope.

The challenges of teaching require mastery of emotional intelligence and critical thinking, the ability to know and control one's own emotions, to recognise the emotions of others and to manage personal relationships appropriately. For this task, Day (2005) proposes a dialogue between action research and narrative research, in order to learn more about teachers' life stories. Liliane has been successful in this struggle and it seems that narrative experience can help. But the life stories and experiences of Liliane and other research participants are characterised by the perceived difference of being a woman, in contexts that are sometimes assimilationist, or even patriarchal and exclusionary. "There are moments when you feel like crying, but you have to swallow it and say: 'this is what I want' " (Liliane, 35 years old, accounting teacher, CR). Family distance is a new experience for her, and this involves understanding identification and permanence.

Liliane tries to understand the different students. In general, all people dream of good things for the future, jobs, family, cars, travel, but she did not see this in Coari's students. "I asked what the pupils' dreams were, both for their personal life and for their family and everything. [...] There were people who didn't know" (Liliane, 35 years old, accounting teacher, RC). To dream, you have to know the possibilities. Some people's reality is very closed, they are precariously inserted in the processes of globalisation of communication and transport, and it even seems that they are afraid to tell their dreams. The priority is to survive, as there is not much motivation for other tasks, considering that leaving Coari may imply living in a periphery of Manaus, exposed to all kinds of violence and insecurity, as we have already identified in previous research with off-campus departures (Peres et al., 2017). Most of the students only know the city of Coari, without even knowing any rural communities.

Many teachers find it difficult to understand this different social reality, as many have been trained from a more technical or even technicist perspective. However, the exchange of experiences between teachers from the technical and human areas is recurrent on campus, albeit in an unplanned way. Whenever there is a need to solve something practical or technical, in any area, even if it is not the teacher's speciality, we in the humanities say: "call so-and-so". When there is a need to resolve something related to relationships, conflicts and political tensions, it is quite common to call on humanities teachers. However, the few and prescriptive pedagogical meetings at the beginning of the school year do not stimulate constructive dialogue between the different areas, sometimes encouraging binary and exclusionary perspectives.

In this context, it is necessary to reflect on the preparation of the teacher for this reality, of the technician to know the human, and of the general education teacher, the ability to understand the purpose of the professional training of IFs and to seek the intercultural field. Thinking about teacher training that glimpses "horizons of capturing the world beyond school routines, beyond the limits of the established and standardised, so that it appropriates the theory and practice that make work a creative activity, fundamental for the human being" (Ciavatta, 2012, p. 101).

We cannot expect young adolescents to understand and take ownership of inclusive praxis, as many teachers seem to expect. Young people have concrete dreams and at this age that is what matters. The place has its peculiarities that affect IFAM. In Coari there is only one private secondary school, with only one class, and public schools do not guarantee the same results as IFAM (Peres et al., 2017). Kleverton comments on something that we have already found in previous research and that bothers him: "Most of the students we have in the institution, the integrated ones, do not go for technical education, they go exclusively today for the baccalaureate, which by the way is the best in the city" (Kleverton, 37 years old, Computer Science Teacher, RC).

This demand for a baccalaureate leads to a lack of interest in technical training and the teacher in this area sometimes feels undervalued, and does not usually put himself in the place of the student, who has a history of being there. In 2017, 262 students were asked why they entered IFAM, 23.28% chose the possibility of pursuing a technical career and 70.61% the possibility of having a good training for entry into higher education (Peres & Cordovil, 2020).

Marcos Cione and Kleverton say they demand the minimum in their technical areas, leaving room for general training. However, Edson is concerned about the possible consequences of training a technician who compromises the institution's image in the market. There is another paradox in the municipality of Coari. In an interview with a local businessman in 2017, he reported that he does not like to hire former IFAM students, that he prefers an inexperienced person, to train them in his own way (Souza & Dell'Oso, 2020). This was a company with a shortage of IT services, a priority area for IFAM in Coari, but which does not hire the Institute's empowered students, who know the technique, but who, at the same time, know their labour rights and demand decent working conditions.

Referring to this dilemma, Edson asks "what is our role within the Institute" (Edson, 40 years old, computer teacher at the RC). Would it be important for the teacher to prioritise knowledge? To choose what is best for the student? The debate heats up. Bruna says: "we can show the paths" (Bruna, 33 years old, Agronomy teacher, RC). Jean reflects: "I'm thinking here, who has been through what the kids are going through now? Not me" (Jean, 30, teacher of Fisheries Resources, RC). Edson acknowledges: "I see our students as warriors" (Edson, 40, Computer Teacher, RC). There are several attempts at a response, but they stop at the classic debate on the duality of general vs. technical training.

In general, the teachers fight for improvements and against the liberal reforms implemented at the time, but they realise that training at IFAM will not guarantee the pupils' happiness. It is common to hear teachers advising students to move to other cities, indicating that Coari has no future for them. The discussion allows us to understand that the criticism from liberal sectors and some theorists (Schwartzman, 2016; Magalhães & Castioni, 2019) that the integrated education model, based on polytechnics, is hindering training for work does not seem to matter to the locals, because in Coari the problems continue to be different.

These experiences, which may be common in peripheral schools, resonate in the DPD of the campus teacher, who experiences the complexity of place, of the Institute and the dilemma of being "away from home" and in a different place. Despite having come voluntarily, identification with the place does not occur, thus impairing teaching. The DPD is constituted by processes of teacher identification that involve dimensions of the professional (professionalism, professionalisation and professionalism), the personal (subjectivity), the context (the school, the workplace), the organisational and the institutional-administrative (organisational culture) (Marcelo García, 1999). All these dimensions affect the DPD of Coari teachers and are complexified by the cultural dimension, in the area of differences and diversities.

Processes of identification and the dilemma of permanence

The non-identification and non-adaptation of teachers with the place makes the Coari campus a place where "nobody wants to stay", where identification is non-existent or low. There are several supposed reasons for this. Antônio considers that:

The structure of the city itself, you don't have many leisure options, you don't have many options, for example, having health insurance here is practically not worth it, in Coari, because you have nowhere to go (Antônio, 44 years old, Mathematics Teacher, EI)

Paradoxically, it is the satisfactory salary that stimulates the desire to go to larger centres: "since you can pay more, you want to be able to consume more, you want to have a better structure. Unfortunately, nowadays, the interior does not offer that" (Antônio, 44 years old, Mathematics teacher, EI). Remuneration, which is a recurrent problem for teachers in Brazil, as mentioned in the previous section, seems to represent a different dilemma in IFAM, because good pay feeds the desire not to stay. Identification as a consumerist subject (Hall, 2019) tends to guide people's decisions. Giddens (2002) discusses reflexivity and lifestyle, presenting the dilemma of living a personalised experience or a commodified experience in identity formation, influenced by advertising and consumption patterns. The consumption pattern in Coari is also different from other Brazilian peripheries, there is a different relationship with nature. Eating habits, among others, are different, which causes strangeness.

Santos (2021), in Reflections on education in the interior of Amazonas/Brazil, describes many of the dilemmas and dramas experienced by teachers at the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM), the State University of Amazonas (UEA) and IFAM in the interior, taking the municipality of Coari as a sample. He considers that, in addition to the number of teachers, it is necessary to "think about their remuneration, their psycho-pedagogical preparation to adapt to neglected areas, with methodologies that can value indigenous culture, use the environment as a great laboratory and contextualised content with the Amazonian reality" (Santos, 2021, p. 38). Souza's Thesis (2018, p. 156) addresses the Amazon Cost, "the additional cost assumed by the institutions that develop activities in the Amazon, when considering the difficulties of travel, transport, communication and logistics for areas of difficult access such as: forest, riverside, quilombola and indigenous areas", which "has a direct influence on two of the main difficulties raised, which are logistics and high turnover of teaching staff" (Souza, 2018, p. 8).

The author studies the case of the São Gabriel da Cachoeira campus, where the indigenous issue is more present, differentiating it from Coari, but with several similarities that identify them continuously. The process of identification of the indigenous people of Coari is quite late, affected by the rural-urban movement and high employability, in the context of the construction of the Petrobras gas pipeline, already mentioned. The municipality, historically built on the foundations of indigenous culture, has only one Indigenous Land and three recognised ethnic groups (IBGE, 2020). There is an expectation of major changes in this area, based on data from the Institute's ongoing research.

The teacher who comes from outside does not develop identification with these indigenous, rural and riverside sectors, with what would be the "vocation" of the Institute. However, local teachers also have their dilemmas. The possibility of moving in the globalised world, in itself, is already a mechanism of tension, because it is a possibility, an open invitation. With the Coari family, wife with a good job, and no children, Renan does not completely rule out the possibility of leaving the Coari campus. On this, he reflects: "If I feel like it? Yes, but for a small municipality, too, for example, Presidente Figueiredo, Manacapuru" (Renan Belém, 27 years old, Portuguese Language Teacher, EI). These are municipalities in the metropolitan region of the capital Manaus. However, for Renan, it is at the level of the imagination, of unconscious processes perhaps, a possible decentring in modernity, as Hall (2019) explains. He emphasises: "today, in Coari, I am totally stabilised, I am at home" (Renan Belém, 27 years old, Portuguese Language Teacher, EI). The word "today" has an effect in this sentence, it demonstrates the contingency of time.

Alves et al. (2019) conducted important research on the quality of work life on the Coari campus, involving the reality of the Amazonian countryside and technical-administrative servants. The study revealed a strong satisfaction in the exercise of work activities on the part of the participants. It remains to be reflected upon, and can be done in other studies, about the possible factors that influence this satisfaction, including the teachers in this study. Quality of life policies, effective working conditions, place belonging and more frequent social relations are factors to be considered.

Iracema, who is from Coari and is a Portuguese language teacher, left Coari for Manaus when she was 8 years old and returned at the age of 36 to work as a teacher at the Institute, also has her dilemmas. She considers that the family bond helps her identification with the place, but she perceives differences in the place that worry people who come from outside, such as violence, traffic and the difficulty of making friends. She does not omit the ills of place, as irrational advocates of imagined places often do, as Hall (2019) writes about those associated with "imagined communities".

Iracema views the place with a certain strangeness. Aspects that are perceived naturally by the people of the village arouse her attention. She walks between two perspectives, on the border of culture, in a hybrid terrain. He experiences a decentring from the paradoxical centres of reference. She also says that her husband's unemployment, family problems and a specific difficulty she had on campus stimulated her desire to leave Coari. The conversations about staying or not staying in Coari open up avenues for diverse interpretations of the place where these teachers work and learn, considering the conceptions of place, non-place and belonging, which allow for a theoretical dialogue with authors such as Bauman (2001), Hall (2019) and Augé (2020).

Even so, when entering into the debate about teachers' tenure at the site, in other conversations during the research, despite different histories, desires and needs, all tried to propose solutions, within the limits of their agencies and understandings. They sought ways out so that teachers' displacements would not undermine teaching, the substantive identity of the teacher, in Day's (2001) sense.

At the time of writing, in 2023, of the 12 participants who started in the research, conducted in 2019, only five are still on campus. Two of them left at the beginning of the research and the others later. Participant George, a theacher in Geography, has already been transferred to another campus, as he did not adapt and got a secondment with a lecturer from another location. These moves require a concern with the policies of the institution in relation to tenure, considering the resonances that moves or the willingness to be moved have on the DPD of teachers.

Possible ways forward and learning paths for the dual context

Considering the socio-economic and cultural complexity of the municipality of Coari, the also complex nature of the Institute and the conflictive identification of the teacher with the place, perceived in the accounts of the experiences, it seems pertinent to think about training actions that have the potential to transform the experiences into identifications more favourable to the lived reality, minimising the negative impact on the DPD, while opening up new possibilities in teaching. In this sense, we suggest:

Since identification processes are also biographical and (auto)biographical, these approaches need to be considered in teacher education. This perspective, which stems from the 1980s, has been growing vigorously in research worldwide (González-Monteagudo, 1996; Fernández-Cruz, 2015; Contreras Domingo et al., 2019).


In the article we seek, in the brief format that this text allows, to identify some stories of teachers on the Coari campus, which are configured as mechanisms generating tensions. We seek to present learning paths that make it possible to understand the processes of identification in the field of the differences and complexities of the double context, minimising the impacts of political, social and economic realities and their implications in the DPD.

The intention of the work was also to broaden the perspectives of narrative research and the use of reports in the training processes of teachers involved with the cause of teaching at IFAM Campus Coari. It is the result of research, experience and collaborative dialogue between the three authors, coming from teaching and research at the Federal Institute of Amazonas, narrative research and teacher training at the Federal University of Mato Grosso and intercultural and biographical studies at the University of Seville.

From the experiences reported, we identified that the reality of the work in the place compared to the teachers' previous experiences, the different relationship with the environment, the physical and geographical isolation, the exclusive access by river, the precarious and complex economy and structure, the proximity to the indigenous culture and the riverside caboclo, in addition to the customs that represent the local culture, are the main tension-generating mechanisms that displace and decentralise the teachers (Hall, 2019). It is considered that "experiences are stories that people live. People live stories and in the telling of those stories they reaffirm themselves. They modify themselves and create new stories" (Clandinin & Connelly, 2015, p. 27).

Among these new stories, teachers construct learning approaches, continuous changes in the DPD and new knowledge in this field. Reflection on the fluidity of identities, from cultural studies, dealing with processes of identification and differences, seems to be an important path for the field of teacher education, as it was possible to explore in this research.

This article proposes a reflection based on teachers' experiences. The pathways outlined should not be thought of as prescriptions, but as opportunities to broaden the perspectives of teacher education, to minimise the impacts of the double complexity of the IFAM context within the DPD, remembering that professional development necessarily involves the lives of teachers.


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About the authors

Claudio Afonso Peres

Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Amazonas, Coari, AM, Brazil

PhD in Education from the University of Mato Grosso (2022). Lecturer and Researcher at the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Amazonas. Member of the Study and Research Group on Teacher Education and Policy (GEPForDoc). E-mail:

Filomena Maria de Arruda Monteiro

Federal University of Mato Grosso, Cuiabá, MT, Brazil

PhD in Education from the Federal University of São Carlos (2004). Full Professor and Researcher of the Postgraduate Programme in Education at the Federal University of Mato Grosso. Leader of the Study and Research Group on Teacher Education and Policy. E-mail:

José González-Monteagudo

University of Seville, Seville, Spain

PhD in Pedagogy from the University of Seville (1996). Full Professor and Researcher at the Faculty of Educational Sciences of the University of Seville. He belongs to the French, English and Brazilian associations of research and training focused on life histories. E-mail:

Contribution to the elaboration of the text: author 1 – production of the field texts, interviews, analysis and interpretation of the data, production of the text and in the theoretical-methodological discussion of the article; author 2 – methodological support, dialogue between method and methodology, theory and field texts, data analysis, review and consolidation of the manuscript; author 3 – theoretical support, dialogue between theory and field texts, translation of the summaries, review and consolidation of the manuscript.


O artigo trata da reflexão sobre a experiência de ser docente no Instituto Federal do Amazonas (IFAM) – Campus Coari. Perseguindo os princípios da pesquisa narrativa, no diálogo com a pesquisa (auto) biográfica, busca-se identificar as principais experiências vividas no local que ampliaram a concepção de complexidade da docência e que possibilitaram evidenciar as diferentes nuances do Desenvolvimento Profissional Docente (DPD). Propõe-se caminhos de aprendizagens significativas que possam facilitar os processos de identificação no campo das diferenças e do contexto da docência no Instituto Federal, ampliando a perspectiva formativa da pesquisa narrativa, a partir da experiência refletida.

Palavras-chave: Desenvolvimento Profissional Docente. Instituto Federal do Amazonas. Contexto Complexo.


El artículo trata de la reflexión sobre la experiencia de ser profesor en el Instituto Federal de Amazonas (IFAM) – Campus Coari. Siguiendo los principios de la investigación narrativa, en diálogo con la investigación (auto)biográfica, busca identificar las principales experiencias vividas in situ que han ampliado la concepción de la complejidad de la enseñanza y que permitieron destacar los diferentes matices del Desarrollo Profesional Docente (DPD). Se proponen caminos de aprendizaje significativos que pueden facilitar los procesos de identificación en el campo de las diferencias y del contexto de enseñanza en el Instituto Federal, ampliando la perspectiva formativa de la investigación narrativa a partir de la experiencia reflexionada.

Palabras clave: Desarrollo Profesional Docente. Instituto Federal de Amazonas. Contexto Complejo.

Linhas Críticas | Journal edited by the Faculty of Education at the University of Brasília, Brazil e-ISSN: 1981-0431 | ISSN: 1516-4896

Full reference (APA): Peres, C. A., Monteiro, F. M. de A., González-Monteagudo, J. (2023). Teaching at the Federal Institute of Amazonas – learning from experience. Linhas Críticas, 29, e47920.

Full reference (ABNT): PERES, C. A.; MONTEIRO, F. M. de A.; GONZÁLEZ-MONTEAGUDO, J. Teaching at the Federal Institute of Amazonas – learning from experience. Linhas Críticas, 29, e47920, 2023. DOI:

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The authors hold the copyright of this manuscript, with the first publication rights reserved to the journal Linhas Críticas, which distributes it in open access under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY 4.0):

1We used the real names of the participants, who at the time of the research decided not to use pseudonyms, which shows the trust created by the researcher in the field and the relational aspect of narrative research.